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Jigsaw backs call for action on child abuse

Media Release
Jigsaw Family Services
4 June 2009

Jigsaw backs Children’s Commissioner’s call for action on child abuse

Liz Kinley, CEO (Strategic Operations) of Jigsaw, says a new report on child abuse in New Zealand supports the frontline experience of Jigsaw’s 34 community-based agencies.

The report from the Commissioner for Children shows that every year about 45 children under five are seriously injured and about five are killed.

“The finding that the youngest babies are most at risk is consistent with our on-the-ground work,” says Liz Kinley. “Jigsaw agencies know from their work that babies born into families where there is substance abuse and serious mental health problems are the most at risk.”

Jigsaw agencies employ about 500 staff working to stop child abuse and family violence. Liz Kinley says the findings are part of their daily experience.

“The vulnerability of babies and young children with non-biological parents is well-known. This is particularly so when the mother’s male partner has little or no attachment with the child, and has a history of violence and controlling anger. Partner violence and child abuse are also strongly inter-related,” she says.

Jigsaw supports the Children’s Commissioner’s call for action. In addition it wants to see pre-parenting education for teenagers, ways for getting fathers more involved, and more support for a bottom up approach from the community.

“We want to build families, neighbourhoods and communities to reduce isolation. Jigsaw Family Services focuses on helping people knowing when they need help and not being afraid to ask for it,” says Liz Kinely.


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